|I framed Lily's painted name from The Painted Name Project|
When I was 19/20, I had an unplanned pregnancy. In the first several weeks, the Lord connected my heart to my baby and revealed to me she was a little girl named Lily. It was as if He whispered to my heart her name and gender, as there was never any question in my mind what they were.
Lily means "pure and innocent." She was a symbol of my renewed purity and redemption in Christ. Her new life growing in my womb was a symbol and reflection of the new life God was cultivating within me. Her life was the instrument used to bring me new life.
As my friend Anna wrote, "Little Lily was a miracle, and even her name was a testimony to your growing in His light like a flower blooming in her season."
On September 5th, 2009 (when I was still in my first trimester), I wrote the following in an email to my friend, Bex (one of the first people to know about Lily):
"For some reason, I feel like the baby growing in me is a girl! And I've been calling her Lily... from the verse in Song of Solomon, "Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens." Out of my sin and darkness, I know the Lord will do something very special with this little one."
Her name was imprinted on my heart. Later that month, at my first ultrasound appointment at a local Pregnancy Center, there was a painting of a lily hanging on the wall across from me. Seeing the lily painting was like a sweet gift from the Lord, who knew Lily's gender, name, and purpose already. My heart was bonding with my little girl's heart. This further confirmed for me that God saw and ordained her life.
When I was selecting her middle name, I had no idea at the time that Katherine also means "pure and innocent." I knew that God was with me and had a beautiful purpose for the sweet baby girl He was knitting together in my womb, with her own unique name that He chose to reveal to me.
Two days past my due date, on March 16, 2010, after a healthy pregnancy, I arrived at the hospital in labor. It was there I was told the life-altering words, "her heart is no longer beating." Lily's name took on an even deeper meaning... She will forever remain pure and innocent.
I struggled with why God would let me walk that road, let me carry and love Lily so much, only to take her from me. But I rest in knowing it is all in His hands. I trusted Him with her life and now I trust Him with her legacy.
God gave me the most precious gift I've ever received in Lily's life. Just as people give flowers to those they care about as a symbol of love, God gave me a little flower named Lily to show His love for me. Yet another reason I believe why He chose for her name to be Lily.
Unlike flowers on Earth that wither away, my little flower will never wither. She may not be alive on Earth, but her legacy is vibrantly alive. As soon as it seems her legacy might be withering, the Lord breaths His breath of life upon it, causing it to bloom all over again. You see, my Lily isn't a regular flower - she is an eternal flower, given as an eternal gift from an eternal God. The gift of her life will keep on giving to anyone who is blessed enough to hear her story. Not only will her legacy bloom forever on Earth, but she is blooming with life in Jesus. Her body is in the ground, but the beauty and brilliance of this flower named Lily Katherine will never fade.
As my friend Teresa wrote to me, "I love that you chose the name Lily and that she is remembered by something so visible to us."
That is part of why I love her name.. It's so special that the Lord gave Lily a name with something so visibly attached to her name, as a reminder and symbol of my sweet Lily bloom.
Part of why I love Lily Katherine's name as much as I do is because of it's timeless elegance and lovely feminine sound. Not only are her first and middle names both names that would be heard in centuries past, but they are also named from generations past in my own family, making them even more special.
My great-grandmother Bain (my mom's dad's mom) was named Katherine. She was almost 100 when she passed away. I was 10 at the time, which leaves me with several memories of her. Obviously my Lily's middle name is Katherine. I selected it, not primarily because it is a family name, but because of the meaning. However, I selected Katherine with a "K," rather than a "C," because that's how my great-grandmother's name is spelled.
After all, according to Anne of Green Gables, "Katherine with a "K" is so much more alluring than Catherine with a "C." A "C" always looks so smug." ;)
|me with my great-grandmother, Katherine|
After I named Lily, I found out that Katherine's mother (so my great-great grandmother and Lily's great-great-great grandmother!) had the name Lily! Lily had a daughter named Katherine. And all these generations later, came my sweet flower... my Lily Katherine.
|My great-great-grandmother, Lily, sitting front and center|
It makes my heart smile that Lily is connected to my family through her name. She is just as real as anybody and deserves the most beautiful of names. She is a daughter, a granddaughter, a great-granddaughter, a great-great granddaughter, and so forth. She holds an irreplaceable part in my family. And it makes me feel connected to the women in my family who share my daughter's name.
Some people live close to 100 years on Earth, while others never take a breath outside the womb, but that doesn't make one life more significant than another. That's what I feel God reminding me of as I've struggled with wondering why my relatives before me, Lily and Katherine, were blessed with many more years than my little Lily Katherine. What I keep coming back to is remembering that it is God alone who numbers our days and it's His business whether those days are numbered few or many. Our value is not found in that number. And what God can do through a life is not measured or defined by that number. He works outside of our lines, as I wrote about in a blog post a couple years ago. Not only that, but His love for us is not measured in how many days He gives us on Earth. The fact that my girl has the same name as these women who lived on Earth for many decades is a reminder of how they are equal.
Lily was due on March 14th, which is National Potato Chip Day. Ironically, the food I most craved during my pregnancy was hashbrowns. One of her nicknames since I was pregnant is Spud. Now, we have hashbrowns in our little Spud's honor each year on March 14th. ;)
Other nicknames: Lily Kat, lilliputian, lilykins, L.O. (little one), Lily Kate, little flower, my girl
Other Considered Names
There was no question in my mind that her first name was meant to be Lily, but I did ponder quite a few possible middle names. I liked Lily Ember and Lily Victoria. Lily's daddy liked the names Aubrey and Quinn, which is a name in his family.
I think about how Ember is a name I considered as a middle name and how embers are the fizzling glow of a dying fire. In a way, it would seem that is what Lily's life has been... how it fizzled out so quickly. But I know the truth... her legacy will never fizzle and neither will her life. She just exists in another world. Victoria is a timeless name, just like Katherine, which is why I considered it.
One more note... If Lily had lived, she would not have had Allen-Ball as her last name (mine and her daddy's last names combined). It would have been either one or the other. I thought it was a special way to include both her parents in her name, and a way to honor him as her forever father.
|Lily Katherine Allen-Ball's memorial stone in Crozet, Virginia|
"The mention of my child's name may bring tears to my eyes, but it never fails to bring music to my ears. If you are really my friend, let me hear the music of her name! It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul!" -Author Unknown
"We can't know why the lily has so brief a time to bloom in the warmth of sunlight's kiss upon its face before it folds into its fragrance and bids the world goodnight to rest its beauty in a gentler place. But we can know that nothing that is loved is ever lost and no one who has touched a heart can really pass away because some beauty lingers on in each memory of which they've been a part." -Ellen Brenneman
"It is amazing what beauty that one flower will give to her surroundings. She can be in an environment of bleak ugliness, however just her presence can transform her surroundings. This is exactly the way a faithful daughter can be a transformer and shining light to the world around her."
"A tiny flower, lent not given, to bud on Earth and bloom in Heaven."
I would love to heart about your baby's name.